On our second day, it was snowing, so we decided to stay on the paved path and made our way to Arco Tunnel which was no longer open to the public. This cave was a good place to weed out anyone who is claustrophobic, since at the very entrance, we had to belly crawl through two very, very narrow openings (happy to report that I made it through with minimum internal swearing).
We made our way to a section of the cave that Elena had collected samples from over summer. She had seen pigmented organisms there and was curious to see if they were still present (they were!)
For more samples, we went deeper into the cave. We collected a total of five samples from Arco with one of them being from a moist green layer which covered the walls of a small alcove.
We decided to not go any further as we had already spent about four hours in the cave, and our guide was getting a little restless. We crawled out of the cave and were greeted with many inches of snow on the ground and more falling from the sky. Even though the initial plan was to collect samples from Indian cave as well, Elena decided to take her team to safety instead.
Our trip ended with pizza, an old wild-west movie, and a semi-philosophical discussion at a friendly local pizza restaurant.